France expressed its support for Tunisia's political process a week before the country is to choose a new president in an early presidential election, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday, September 8th, AFP reported.
"The democratic transition is taking place properly in Tunisia," Le Drian told French radio stations, adding "It is a young democracy, its constitution was drawn up recently."
Tunisia initiated the so-called Arab Spring of popular uprisings in late 2010 and Le Drian emphasised that it was "a spring that has continued down a democratic path."
The election was set for September 15th after the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi on July 25th.
Essebsi's death "sped up the calendar but the process continues, let us respect that," the foreign minister said. Twenty-six candidates are vying for office in the first round of voting.
Le Drian refused to weigh in on the case of jailed media mogul Nabil Karoui, who was arrested on August 23rd but who is running for the presidential nomination. "I respect Tunisian justice and the Tunisian constitution and I hope the democratic transition occurs in the best possible way," he said.
Tunisian officials have been investigating Karoui for three years on suspicion of money laundering. He denies the allegations.